Friday, October 31, 2008

Georgia State Receives Grant to Educate Children about DNA’s “Language”

The National Institutes of Health has awarded Georgia State University with a three-year, $760,000 grant to help educate Georgia’s K-12 students about DNA and genetic principles through the university’s Bio-Bus program.

The grant is part of nearly $17 million in grants from the NIH’s Science Education Partnership Awards, aimed at stimulating scientific curiosity among students and to encourage hands-on science education.

The project’s goal is to teach children about DNA, the essential building blocks of genetics, as a language — something that has not done at early ages, said Barbara Baumstark, professor of biology and principal investigator of the project.

Baumstark said since DNA contains a certain code that is read from left to right, it is usually taught as a language. But concepts surrounding DNA, including the “alphabet” of the genetic language — adenine, cytosine, guanine and thymine, abbreviated A, C, G and T —are not commonly taught until adolescence, even though younger children often acquire languages much more readily than older children and adolescents.

“We were missing an excellent opportunity to allow younger children to get familiar with DNA,” Baumstark said.

She and her colleagues will develop activities in partnership with the Decatur City Schools to teach children ages 6 to 9 to help get them familiar with the concepts. Those activities will hopefully spread to other schools throughout the state.

The Bio-Bus program brings biology education to Georgia school students, offering hands-on, inquiry-based activities designed to get K-12 students enthusiastic about science.

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Georgia Tech Rank #16 Among Kiplinger’s Best Values

Georgia Tech receives national accolade for best value, ranking 16th among Kiplinger’s Personal Finance 100 best values in public colleges. Kiplinger ranks four-year institutions based top-notch academics and economic value.

Schools were selected from a pool of more than 500 public universities. The ranking reflects a variety of criteria including student-faculty ratios, four and six-year graduation rates, retention rates, tuition costs and need-based financial aid.

Kiplinger’s top three schools are University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Florida and the University of Virginia.

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Fayette County School System Now Podcasting Board Meetings and Channel 24 Programming

Audio podcasts of Fayette County Board of Education meetings and Channel 24 videos are now available through the Fayette County school system’s website and the iTunes Store.

Residents who cannot attend meetings of the board of education can now keep up with the latest discussions and item votes by listening to the taped meeting on their computers, usually as soon as the next day.

An RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed has been set up for the podcasts, allowing subscribers to the feed to receive immediate notification as soon as a new podcast is posted. The public can sign up for the free feed by going to the school system’s website,, and clicking on the feed link in the center of the page under “Channel 24 Headlines.” Be sure to click on the feed that says “new,” located just under the “board meeting podcast/channel 24 videocast” link. The other RSS feed is for press releases only and will not work for the podcasts.

“We are excited to be able to offer another level of communication to our stakeholders,” says Public Information Specialist Melinda Berry-Dreisbach. “Many times people are not able to attend our public meetings but they are interested in knowing what really happened. Now they can listen to the meetings and hear for themselves how the meeting evolved.”

The public can also sign up for the RSS feed by going to the iTunes Store. Persons who already have the iTunes Store downloaded on their computer can type “FCBOE” in the search box and select “FCBOE Board Meeting Podcasts.”

Because iTunes must review each podcast, it could take as long as one to two weeks before the subscriber is notified. The feed from the school system’s website will provide immediate notification of a new podcast.

Visitors to the podcast page will also notice that they can view videos that are currently airing or have aired on the school system’s educational channel, Comcast Channel 24. There is a separate RSS feed for the videos that can be accessed by clicking on the same feed link as the board meeting podcasts.

“This service has been requested for a long time by our stakeholders. Many Fayette County residents do not have Comcast Cable and a number of our employees live outside of the county. These stakeholders rarely, if ever, get to see the programming that is aired on the channel. Now they will be able to see all videotaped programming. Our next task will be getting the still announcements added to the site so that viewers can see the channel in its entirety,” says Berry-Dreisbach.

Just like the board meeting podcasts, the public can also go to the iTunes Store to sign up for the video feed by typing “FCBOE” in the search box and selecting the feed that says “FCBOE Channel 24 Videocasts.” However, remember that notification of new items may be delayed when using the feed from iTunes versus immediate notification with the feed from the school system’s site.

Anyone who has trouble accessing the podcast and videocast link or needs help with signing up for any of the RSS feeds, can contact Berry-Dreisbach in the Fayette County school system’s public information office, 770-460-3535.

Editor's Note: There is no charge to use either the RSS or the iTunes Store podcast.

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Georgia Tech Program Creates Career Paths or Future K-12 Teachers and College Faculty

While Georgia has a shortage of K-12 math and science teachers, fortunately the Georgia Institute of Technology is a top destination for students pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Now Georgia Tech students who are interested in teaching at either the collegiate or K-12 level, will be able to enhance their instructive skills, learn about pathways to teaching and participate in teaching internships through a new program funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Known as “Tech to Teaching,” the program integrates existing NSF-funded projects that provide instruction and support for faculty and students who are interested in teaching. The goal of the program is not only to support Georgia Tech students who choose teaching careers at any level, but also to help supply qualified K-12 teachers, with an emphasis on STEM fields, to Georgia classrooms.

“Georgia Tech is in a unique position to be a leader in this area and to assume the responsibility of educating more teachers at all levels in the science, technology, engineering and math disciplines,” says Anderson Smith, senior vice-provost for Academic Affairs. “Georgia imports a large number of science and math teachers. It makes sense for these teachers to be home-grown.”

The Tech to Teaching program creates an infrastructure at Georgia Tech that encourages and enables students to pursue careers in K-12 or college teaching, according to Donna Llewellyn, director of the Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (CETL).

“It is Georgia Tech’s responsibility to help solve the shortage of math and science teachers in Georgia,” explains Llewellyn. “We not only need to supply top-quality teachers to support an educated workforce in our state, but we also need to provide our K-12 schools with teachers equipped to fully prepare students to pursue a higher education here at Georgia Tech.”

The Tech to Teaching program will also reinforce existing collaborations between Georgia Tech and schools such as Georgia Perimeter College and Spelman College, where Georgia Tech graduate students will gain teaching experience by serving as instructors in introductory STEM courses. In addition, a partnership with Kennesaw State University provides the opportunity for undergraduate students to receive National Science Foundation stipends while completing their undergraduate degrees, and while working toward their Master's degree in chemistry or physics teaching. Nearby Georgia State University also serves as a certification option for Tech students through cross-registration.

“An increasingly popular educational path for students interested in K-12 teaching is to get their four-year bachelor’s degree in a particular content field, and then pursue a one-year Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree to earn their teacher certification,” says Marion Usselman, senior research scientist at the Institute’s Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics and Computing (CEISMC). “Georgia Tech students interested in STEM teaching are perfectly positioned to complete their teacher education training at one of the many colleges and universities in Georgia offering MAT degrees. Given the shortage of high school math and science teachers, they are very likely to quickly land a job, even before they are fully certified.”

“We aren’t going into the education degree business, but we are sending our exceptional students to our colleague universities that offer advanced education degree options,” says Llewellyn. “We also hope to initiate and develop partnerships with other universities as the program evolves.”Tech to Teaching, led by Georgia Tech Interim President Gary Schuster, is an initiative funded by a $1 million NSF grant combined with a $1.67 million commitment from Georgia Tech. Georgia Tech is one of six institutions that received NSF funding.

“Our goal is to add a new stanza to the Georgia Tech fight song,” says Usselman. “Students can come to Georgia Tech to be a ‘helluva teacher,’ not just a ‘helluva engineer.’”

The Tech to Teaching program will formally begin in January 2009. For more information, please contact Donna Llewellyn at
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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Regents Name New Georgia State President

The Board of Regents has appointed Mark P. Becker, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost at the University of South Carolina, the next president of Georgia State University.

Becker, 50, will become the 7th president in Georgia State’s history in January, when President Carl Patton retires after 16 years of service.

With experience as a biostatistician, public health researcher and academic leader, Becker is a good fit for Georgia State, members of the presidential search committee said.

“Dr. Becker has the experience as a faculty member, a dean and a provost at leading research universities in the country,” said Paul Alberto, chair of the University Senate Executive Committee and a search committee member. “With that background, he will be able to work with the faculty to assess where we are and how we can move forward to greater national prominence.”

Prior to his appointment at the University of South Carolina, Becker spent three years at the University of Minnesota as a biostatistics professor, dean of the School of Public Health and assistant vice president of Public Health, Preparedness and Emergency Response.

From 1989 to 2000, Becker was a professor and associate dean for academic affairs at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health. He also has held academic posts at the University of Washington, the University of Florida and Cornell University. Additionally, Becker has fundraising experience both as a dean and a provost.

Becker earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Towson State University and his doctorate in statistics from Pennsylvania State University.

Internationally recognized as a researcher in biostatistics and public health sciences, Becker has published more than 40 articles and has been principal investigator on research grants from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.

“Georgia State is poised to advance as one of our nation’s leading urban public research universities,” Becker said. “There is the opportunity, building on its location in Atlanta and the tremendous progress made under President Patton’s leadership, for the University to enhance Atlanta’s national and global stature.”

Becker, who is married to Laura Voisinet and has two children, Matthew, 22, and Julia, 18, said he enjoys outdoor activities like hiking and whitewater rafting and “experiencing and learning about new cultures.”

Chancellor Erroll B. Davis Jr. said Becker will bring a lot to Georgia State.

“As the [presidential search] committee knows, as the Regents know, as I have come to know – let me assure the Georgia State community that you will enjoy becoming acquainted with and working with Dr. Becker.”

by Liz Babiarz
Georgia State University

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UGA Researchers Receive $ 1.3 Million NIH Grant to Develop 3D Animated Biological Science Lessons for High School Students

After using 3-dimensional models and animation successfully for years to help veterinary students understand complicated biological processes, University of Georgia researchers now want to take the user-friendly lessons to Georgia high school students.

J. Steve Oliver, associate department head of science and math education in UGA’s College of Education, is principal investigator of the project, which received a 5-year $ 1.3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Science Education Partnership Program. Oliver and several other UGA researchers and state partners will create and evaluate 3D animated biology lessons for high school students in hopes of enticing more of them to choose careers in science. The grant is funded by the National Center for Research Resources, a part of the NIH.

“We’re deeply concerned about the general lack of interest in science among young people in our country,” said Oliver. “We believe at least part of the reason is that many don’t understand the relevance of science to their lives. The animated lessons will help them to see biology as ‘real,’ and not just a list of facts and terms.”

Oliver’s UGA co-PIs on the project include Jim Moore, Cindi Ward, and Scott Brown, professors in the College of Veterinary Medicine. Four other professors from vet med, Gaylen Edwards, David Hurley, Oliver Li and Tom Robertson, along with Randall Tackett, a professor in the College of Pharmacy, and Mike Hussey, an associate professor of dramatic media, will help create the 3D animations. Al Cohen and Sara Templin in the College of Education will coordinate the evaluation efforts when the new materials are used in schools. Other partners include faculty at Augusta State University, high school science teachers and the Biological Science Curriculum Study Organization., a group in Colorado Springs, Colorado that has been developing biology curricula for middle and high school students across the nation for more than 50 years. The BSCS will guide aspects of the biology curriculum and oversee national distribution upon completion of the project.

Researchers will create and then evaluate the effectiveness of the lessons, which present five vital biological processes—filtration, passive and active transport, blood pressure and glucose homeostasis in the body. The 3D animations will compare the function and structure of a healthy kidney to one affected by diabetes. Students will examine each of the biological processes in the normal kidney, and then investigate how they are altered in the diseased kidney, subconsciously learning the material while enjoying the experience.

“The typical student doesn’t appreciate the potentially damaging effects on their cells and organs of lifestyle choices they make every day,” said Jim Moore, who teaches UGA veterinary students. “For example, the incidence of diabetes is increasing in pet animals the same way it is in the human population—and perhaps for the same reasons: a lack of exercise and obesity. We believe that some high school students will be better able to explore the consequences of the disease in a pet animal than might be possible with a disease they believe only affects humans.”

To introduce high school students to the clinical reality of diabetes in humans and pet animals, the researchers will host visits to UGA’s Colleges of Veterinary Medicine and Pharmacy. During the visits, students will see animals with diabetes, learn how veterinarians and physicians evaluate kidney function in humans and animals, and see how clinical trials are performed to evaluate the effectiveness of new treatments.

“By coupling this unique learning method with on-site visits, we believe students will be far more receptive to choosing a science-based career path, be it as a scientist or a science teacher,” said Oliver.

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Emory Fellow Wins Whiting Writers' Award

Laleh Khadivi, a fellow in Emory University's Creative Writing Program, has received a 2008 Whiting Writers' Award. The $50,000 award, which annually recognizes 10 young writers, was presented to Khadivi yesterday in New York City. (

Khadivi was honored for her first book, "The Age of Orphans," a historical novel set in Iran during the first Shah's ascent to power. Born in Esfahan, Iran, Khadivi is of Kurdish and Persian heritage.

"The Age of Orphans" follows the life of a Kurdish boy whose family is killed by the armies of the Shah as part of a "modernizing effort." The boy is then adopted into those same armies and taught to kill his own people.

This first book is part of a trilogy that follows the lives of three generations of Kurdish men and will be published by Bloomsbury in March. "The award gives me more time to work on the triology," says Khadivi, adding that when her teaching stint at Emory ends, she is considering taking a year off to work on the next book.

Khadivi, who has lived in a variety of countries, is a graduate of Atlanta International School and now calls the United States home. Previously, she was a documentary filmmaker and directed "900 Women," a film about incarcerated women in Louisiana. She has produced a number of other films that focus on the criminal justice system.

She holds an undergraduate degree from Reed College and an MFA degree from Mills College. Khadivi is currently the Fellow in Fiction at Emory, a two-year appointment for those holding a graduate degree in creative writing and who have a manuscript underway.

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Booth Middle School's Edinger Named Wal-Mart Teacher of the Year

Peachtree City Wal-Mart representatives Darren Gaddy (far left) and Freda Jones (far right) award Dave Edinger (center left) a $1,000 check as the store’s Teacher of the Year winner as Principal Ted Lombard looks on.

The Peachtree City Wal-Mart has named eighth grade science teacher Dave Edinger of J.C. Booth Middle as its Teacher of the Year.

Edinger received a $1,000 check from Wal-Mart for being selected as the Peachtree City store’s winner.

Wal-Mart’s Teacher of the Year program is one of the largest teacher recognition programs in the country. Since its inception in 1996, the program has recognized nearly 11,000 teachers nationwide and contributed more than $6.6 million in educational grants to schools.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Fayette County Retired Teacher Honored by the Federal Republic of Germany

The Federal Republic of Germany has awarded the Cross of Merit, First Class, to retired Fayette County High German teacher Mechthild Vogt.

She was officially presented with the honor on October1 during a special ceremony at the Georgia Department of Education. Dr. Lutz Goergens, consul general of the Federal Republic of Germany in Atlanta, presided over the presentation.

The Bundesverdienstkreuz (Federal Cross of Merit) is the only general state decoration of the Federal Republic of Germany, between 3,000 and 5,200 awards are given every year in all eight classes.

Vogt taught German at Fayette County High for 30 years, for 20 of them she sponsored a German-American Partnership exchange program with a high school outside of Frankfurt in Hofheim, Germany. Over 500 German students visited Fayette County during that time, making friends with American students and experiencing American culture first hand. She spent many of her summer vacations taking her students to Germany for three weeks for a similar experience with German culture.

In awarding the Cross of Merit, Goergens credited Vogt with helping people from both countries better understand each other.

“Ms. Vogt, there is more understanding and sympathy for Germany in the United States today as a result of your work. And there is more understanding and sympathy for the United States in Germany,” he said.

Vogt looked back on her career with great satisfaction as she summarized her feelings while finishing her remarks.

“If I have done my part to help with the understanding and with friendships between our peoples, then I feel that I have reached my most ambitious goal and that all my work was worth it,” she said.

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Financial Times Ranks the Executive MBA Program at UGA's Terry College of Business Among the Top 25 in the U.S. and Top 60 in the World

The Executive MBA program at the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business received its highest ranking to date in a global survey published Oct. 27 in the Financial Times, one of the world’s leading business news organizations.

The Terry Executive MBA is ranked 22nd in the United States and 59th in the world, according to the Financial Times’ annual ranking. The Terry EMBA made the most significant improvement of any program ranked the past two years, rising 18 spots in this year’s ranking. Emory’s Goizueta Business School is the only other ranked executive MBA program in Georgia (18th in the U.S., 53rd in the world).

Terry’s “Career Progress” rank was third highest nationally and 13th in the world. This measurement calculates the change in the level of seniority and the size of the company graduates work for now versus the period before they entered the EMBA program.

The average salary reported by graduates three years after completing the program was $153,750, which ranked 19th among U.S. business schools. Similarly, Terry ranked 20th in average salary growth when 2005 graduates were asked to compare their current salaries with their pre-EMBA salaries.

Terry’s Executive MBA program was established in 2001. The program moved to its current location at the Terry Executive Education Center in Buckhead in 2005.

“As a relatively new program in Atlanta, the Terry EMBA is already well known for quality,” said Terry College Dean Robert T. Sumichrast. “Most gratifying in the Financial Times survey were the high scores reported by our EMBA graduates who were asked how their careers had advanced since completing the program and how well they had fulfilled their goals when they set out to get an MBA.”

For the measure “Aims Achieved,” the Terry EMBA ranked 22nd in the world and seventh best in the United States. The “aims achieved” measurement quantifies the extent to which EMBA graduates reported fulfilling their most important goals for pursuing an MBA.

“The Terry EMBA emphasizes personal leadership development and the practical application of management concepts and skills to real business settings,” said Richard Daniels, director of the Executive MBA program. “The rankings illustrate that such an approach creates value for employers and has a real impact on the career trajectory of our participants.”

Now in its eighth year, the Financial Times ranking is compiled using data from two sets of surveys. One is completed by alumni who graduated three years ago from the EMBA programs the Financial Times considered for the ranking. The other survey is completed by the business schools.

The Terry College’s Executive MBA degree is an 18-month program based in Buckhead, geared toward mid-level professionals to senior managers. The format combines weekend class sessions with asynchronous interaction using distance learning technologies. The program offers personalized service, individual leadership coaching, and a 12-day international residency.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

GA Tech Places Eighth in Two World University Technology Rankings

The Georgia Institute of Technology recently was listed among the top world universities in engineering and technology in two separate global rankings.

Georgia Tech ranked eighth on the list of the world’s top universities in engineering and information technology prepared by the Times Higher Education Supplement-QS. The list, considered the definitive university ranking guide in the United Kingdom, was compiled though a study conducted by QS (Quacquarelli Symonds) and published in the Times Higher Education supplement, an independent annual education survey.

Georgia Tech also garnered the eighth spot on the list of the top 100 world universities in engineering/technology and computer sciences, according to Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU). ARWU ranks major institutions according to their academic or research performance in each of five broad subject fields according to a formula that factors in the following indicators: alumni and staff winning Nobel Prizes and fields medals; highly cited researchers; articles indexed in Science Citation Index-Expanded (SCIE) and Social Science Citation Index (SSCI); the percentage of articles published in the leading journals of each field; and engineering research expenditures.

Earlier this year, Georgia Tech was ranked seventh nationally among public universities for undergraduates in the 2009 U.S. News & World Report rankings. For the past decade, Georgia Tech has been among the top ten public universities for undergraduates in the United States.

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

College Enrollment Up 17 Percent Since 2000

Enrollment in two- and four-year colleges and universities in the U.S. reached 20.5 million in 2006, up 3 million since 2000. This included 17.1 million undergraduates and 3.4 million students in graduate or professional schools.

These statistics are from the U.S. Census Bureau’s School Enrollment in the United States: 2006, a report that describes the characteristics of the nation’s 79 million students in 2006.

This is the first school enrollment report from the Census Bureau to use data from both the Current Population Survey (on which previous reports have been based) and the American Community Survey. Incorporating these data result in new state-by-state comparisons of enrollment characteristics while preserving the historical comparisons of school enrollment.

In 2006, there were more students in college and high school, but fewer in nursery school, kindergarten and elementary school, than in 2000. This change reflects the composition of school enrollment by age in the United States for that time period.

Other findings:

-- More than half of undergraduates (56 percent) – as well as 59 percent of graduate students – were women.

-- In 2006, 4.7 million children age 3 and over were enrolled in nursery school or preschool. Among 3-year-olds, 41 percent were enrolled in nursery school, compared with 60 percent of 4-year-olds. Children 5 and older made up 12 percent of nursery school students.

-- The West reported the lowest percentage of native non-Hispanic white students enrolled in kindergarten through 12th grade (44 percent), while the Midwest reported the highest (72 percent). The highest percentage of native-born, single-race black elementary school students was in the South (23 percent), and the West reported the highest percentage of native-born, single-race Asian students (5.8 percent).

-- California (50 percent), Nevada (36 percent) and New York (33 percent) had the highest percentages of students with at least one foreign-born parent, while West Virginia and Mississippi were among the lowest at 2.5 percent.

-- In California, Texas and New Mexico, one-third or more of students enrolled in kindergarten through 12th grade spoke a language other than English at home. By contrast, about 3 percent of students in Mississippi spoke a language other than English at home.
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Friday, October 24, 2008

Special Olympics Georgia Launches Project UNIFY Initiative to Energize Youth

PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Special Olympics Georgia (SOGA) received $60,000 in funding to support the overall outreach initiative of the organization as part of Special Olympics' new national program, Project UNIFY.

Project UNIFY is a year-long project to activate young people across the country in an effort to promote school communities where all young people are agents of change -- fostering respect, dignity and advocacy for people with intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics believes through sports young people can make a difference in friendships, schools and communities.

Project UNIFY promotes a cultural shift and positions Special Olympics as a leading cause among youth -- as important, not just "nice," and as relevant to each of us, not just for "them." In addition, Project UNIFY leadership activities will help develop the next generation of leaders and advocates for individuals with intellectual disabilities.

"This project is an excellent opportunity for our Programs to get directly involved in a grass-roots effort to increase the number of Special Olympics opportunities for youth with and without intellectual disabilities, while increasing the number of state-wide sustained Special Olympics partnerships with schools," said Bob Gobrecht, Special Olympics North America Managing Director. "The need for programs like the ones Special Olympics offers that encourage positive school climates with safe and nurturing environments for all students is clear, especially in light of how inappropriate and discriminatory words and actions are becoming more and more common in our society."

Special Olympics Programs throughout the United States were invited to apply for funds to implement Project UNIFY activities that meet the initiative's objectives through a competitive grant process. Special Olympics Georgia will use their funding to support the Young Athletes, Get Into It, Unified and Traditional sports programs.

All of these initiatives will attract children and adults with intellectual disabilities into the Special Olympics program. "Our goal is to make all eligible individuals aware of the many year-round ways to get involved in our sports training and competition programs throughout the state," said SOGA CEO Georgia Milton-Sheats.

Project UNIFY was made possible by $4.4 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Education pursuant to fiscal 2008 appropriations under the authority of HR5131, "The Special Olympics Sport and Empowerment Act," and the "Individuals with Disabilities Education Act" which Special Olympics International received in June 2008.

To kick off Project UNIFY, 17 young people from across the country, aged 14-20, with and without intellectual disabilities, assembled in Washington, D.C., on 18-20 September for the first meeting of Project UNIFY's Youth Advisory Committee (YAC). The committee met during the Department of Education's 2008 Global Summit on Education, the theme of which was "Inclusive Practices for Students with Disabilities."

In addition to forming the Youth Advisory Committee, other overall Project UNIFY goals include promoting the Special Olympics "R-word" campaign, implementing a U.S. Special Olympics grant process for local Special Olympics Programs, hosting a Global Youth Congress as part of the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games, and participating in national forums and conferences on intellectual disabilities and education.

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Clayton State Philosophy Professor Alexander Hall Writes on Thomas Aquinas (and Other Medieval Philosophers)

Medieval philosophy. It’s not a subject that the average scholar might want to ponder, but for Clayton State University Assistant Professor of Philosophy Dr. Alexander Hall, it’s as simple as Ockham’s Razor.

During the course of the past year, Hall has had published a book, two articles/chapters, and a review on various subjects in medieval philosophy and various 13th and 14th Century philosophers. In addition, he has forthcoming two pieces on Thomas Aquinas, the 13th Century Italian Catholic philosopher and theologian. In fact, Hall’s book, Thomas Aquinas and John Duns Scotus: Natural Theology in the High Middle Ages considers how Aquinas and Scotus, two medieval theologians/philosophers, believed we come to learn about God through a study of the world we live in, on the assumption that, since God created the world, the world should offer some information about the creator, almost in the way a painting reveals something of the artist.

Released worldwide on Apr. 5, 2007 by Continuum International Publishing Group, Hall’s book seeks a middle ground between the philosophy of Aquinas and Scotus in relation to what many scholars believe are opposing answers to the question, “What can we know of God?”

Hall’s forthcoming Aquinas pieces include a translation of the great philosopher’s commentary on the 32nd Psalm.

“There is an ongoing project to translate St. Thomas Aquinas’s commentaries on the book of Psalms,” explains Hall of his Translation: Thomas Aquinas. “Super Psalmo 32.” In The Aquinas Translation Project, edited by Stephen Laughlin.

Hall has also contributed the Aquinas entry to the first ever encyclopedia of medieval philosophy, Encyclopedia of Medieval Philosophy: Philosophy Between 500 and 1500, which has an editorial board composed of leading scholars in the field.

Hall has written an additional work on Scotus, as well as a chapter, John Buridan: Fourteenth-Century Nominalism and Aristotle’s Categories” which appears in Medieval Commentaries on Aristotle’s “Categories,” edited by Lloyd Newton.

“This piece discusses what Scotus believes is the nature of our knowledge of God,” says Hall of his article, “Confused Univocity?” which appears in Proceedings of the Society of Medieval Logic and Metaphysics 7. “I argue Scotus believes our knowledge of God must be somewhat inaccurate owing to the vast gulf between creator and creation. The title ‘confused univocity’ reflects this. Traditionally Scotus is viewed as offering univocal (or completely correct) concepts of God, yet Scotus himself terms these concepts ‘confused’. Playing on this, I argue against the traditional interpretation.”

Finally, Hall has reviewed Demonstration and Scientific Knowledge in William of Ockham: A Translation of Summa Logicae III-II for “Journal of the History of Philosophy.”

“(It’s) a book that translates Ockham’s treatise on logic, which would be better thought of in contemporary terms as a book about the philosophy of science, i.e., a work that discusses how we arrive at certain knowledge or scientific laws,” says Hall. “The translation is accompanied with a lengthy introduction that provides a history of philosophy of science in the middle ages.”

And Ockham’s Razor? It’s simple… the explanation of any phenomenon should make as few assumptions as possible.

A unit of the University System of Georgia, Clayton State University is an outstanding comprehensive metropolitan university located 15 miles southeast of downtown Atlanta.
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Gwinnett Tech's Hudgens Early Education Center Honored for Best Practices

The D. Scott Hudgens, Jr. Early Education Center on the campus of Gwinnett Technical College has been chosen to showcase its facility, programs and practices to statewide leaders from education and industry as part of the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education (GPEE) 16th Annual Bus Trip Across Georgia. The bus tour will visit the Hudgens Center on Thursday, Oct. 30, from 8 – 10 am.

The Hudgens Center is one of only 13 schools in the state – at all grade levels – to be selected for the tour and was chosen from a pool of 100. The bus tour began in 1993 and has been a fixture in state education circles ever since.

The tour showcases achieving public schools, innovative learning techniques and shares best practices with educators, business, government and community leaders from around the state. Schools selected as stops have a proven track record of academic excellence, educational innovation and sustained performance.

Sharon J. Bartels, president of Gwinnett Technical College, says, "It's a great honor for The Hudgens Center to be recognized by the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education in just our second year of operation. It's also great to see the role of early education highlighted. Quality early education is vital for success in all levels of education and improving early education directly and positively improves our communities."

The Hudgens Center provides childcare and preschool to the community, offering infant and toddler care, preschool, Montessori, Georgia Pre-K classes and before- and after-school care, serving children six weeks to 8 years old. The Hudgens Center is also a model teaching center for Gwinnett Tech's early childhood care and education program.

Participants on the bus tour include administrators, teachers and counselors from school systems throughout Georgia; college administrators; executives from business and industry; and representatives from the state Department of Education, the Georgia PTA, The Georgia Association of Educators, Teach for America, Junior Achievement, the Woodruff Foundation, and Georgia Public Broadcasting.

"As a lab school for Gwinnett Tech's early education program, our sole purpose is to model the best practices in the field and to provide an education at the highest level of quality in a nurturing environment to our children," says Becky Olson, Hudgens Center director. "It's gratifying to know that we're hitting the mark."

Opened in August 2006, the Hudgens Center is a 26,000-square-foot, two-story facility located on the Gwinnett Tech campus. Built with state-of-the-art communications and security features, the Center offers low teacher-to-student ratios and high teacher-education requirements, while also following the accreditation standards of the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Dr. Stephen Dolinger, president of the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education, says, "The Hudgens Center is a prime example of what can be done when it comes to providing a strong learning foundation for children." He explains the school represents a true partnership between the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning – Bright from the Start – and the Technical College System of Georgia that brings together quality early learning and teacher training.

Dolinger adds that the Hudgens Center visit, as well as the other 2008 bus trip schools, represents what is right in Georgia's public education system. "In the case of this stop, our bus trip participants will see a dynamic program that will pay long-lasting dividends as these children progress through their learning careers."

The event is conducted in two three-day increments. The first leg of the trip will visit seven north Georgia schools Oct. 28 – 30, followed by another six schools on a southern swing, Nov. 18 - 20. More than 200 riders and local site visitors are expected to participate over the entire schedule.

For more information about the D. Scott Hudgens, Jr., Early Education Center, call 678.226.6510. For more information about Gwinnett Tech and the college's more than 45 program options, including early childhood education, call 770-962-7580 or visit
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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Gwinnett Tech to Host Junior Achievement's College Pipeline Program

Gwinnett Technical College will host 100 students from Brookwood and Central Gwinnett high schools for a day on campus on October 30 as part of JA College Pipeline, a Junior Achievement of Georgia program.

While at Gwinnett Tech, students will attend learning sessions on admissions, career planning and financial aid as well as Junior Achievement workshops on working smart, goal setting and interviewing skills.

The schedule is designed to provide students with the latest information on attending college and the opportunity to observe campus life. Students will also tour Gwinnett Tech and have the chance to talk with and ask questions of college administrators and admissions representatives.

"We are delighted to welcome these students to campus," says Sharon Bartels, Gwinnett Tech president. "The decision about what to do after high school is one of the most important choices we make – and the process can be daunting. We offer a host of resources and information at Gwinnett Tech to support students and help them make sound decisions about their education and career."

Jack Harris, President of Junior Achievement of Georgia, agrees. "The college application process can be overwhelming to high school students. The JA College Pipeline Program is intended to expose students to the educational options available to them, and to empower students with knowledge that will help them achieve their academic and career goals."

Providing students information on real world financial issues is also a part of the program. "According to the Jump$tart Coalition, colleges and universities lose a significant number of students to credit card debt. Recognizing this problem, two important components of the JA College Pipeline Program include discussing wise decision-making skills and how credit works," said Katiuska Delgado, Vice President of Education Operations for Junior Achievement of Georgia.

For more information about any of Gwinnett Tech's more than 140 program options, contact 770-962-7580 or visit
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Five Georgia High Schools Win Governor's Cup

Governor Sonny Perdue and State Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox honored five Georgia high schools today with Governor’s Cup trophies for improvement in SAT scores. Governor Perdue initiated the statewide competition in 2003 as part of an overall effort to raise Georgia's SAT scores.

"In any competition – athletic or academic – how you prepare is how you’ll play. Georgia's students are working harder than ever to perform well on the SAT,” said Governor Sonny Perdue. "I know that dedicated teachers, involved parents and hard-working students all worked together on this outstanding achievement. I’m pleased to recognize their collective success and present these schools with the Governor’s Cup trophies."

Each of the five high schools that won their respective classes was awarded a Governor's Cup trophy and a $2,000 grant towards SAT preparation resources. Juniors and seniors at the winning schools also received T-shirts. The Governor's Cup challenge is based on high school athletic regions and classifications previously assigned by the Georgia High School Association. The winning schools are:

Towns County High School Towns County A

Model High School Floyd County AA

Crisp County High School Crisp County AAA

Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School Catoosa County AAAA

Savannah Arts Academy Chatham County AAAAA

"This type of improvement on the SAT comes from focusing on the importance of reading, writing and analytical thinking across all areas of the curriculum," said Superintendent Cox. "Our Governor's Cup winners are showing the entire state what happens when you combine hard work and high expectations. Congratulations to all of the students and educators in these winning schools."

A regional champion trophy and a $1,000 grant were also awarded to 32 high schools with the largest numerical improvement in SAT scores in their region. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. is a partner in the Governor’s Cup, providing all prizes to the winning schools.

The Governor's Cup challenge is a part of Governor Perdue's efforts to improve students' performance on the SAT and their potential for success in post-secondary education. Along with the Governor's Cup challenge, Governor Perdue also launched, an online resource providing post-secondary education planning materials to students statewide.

Governor Perdue and Superintendent Cox have also made free online SAT prep classes available to all high school students. In 2006-2007, nearly 40 percent of Georgia's high school students from private, public and home school programs used the SAT prep class.

Governor Perdue has placed graduation coaches in Georgia's middle and high schools to identify students who otherwise might not graduate and help them back on the path towards a diploma.

Governor Perdue and Superintendent Kathy Cox also announced the 2008 top score winners. The following schools demonstrated the highest SAT scores in their GHSA class over a 3 year period:

Trion City Trion High School A

Decatur City Decatur High School AA

Richmond Davidson Magnet School AAA

Fayette McIntosh High School AAAA

Cobb Walton High School AAAAA

The following schools represent the Governor’s Cup regional winners: Alpharetta High School, Banneker High School, Brooks County High School, Burke County High School, Callaway High School, Campbell High School, Central High School, Chestatee High School, Clinch County High School, Colquitt County High School, Dawson County High School, Decatur High School, Douglass High School, Forsyth Central High School, Gordon Lee High School, Lakeside High School, Lincoln County High School, Long County School, Madison County High School, Mary Persons High School, Mays High School, McNair High School, Metter High School, Newnan High School, Oconee County High School, Parkview High School, Schley Middle High School, Sequoyah High School, Spencer High School, Treutlen Middle/High School, Upson-Lee High School, Vidalia Comprehensive High School.

For more information on the Governor’s Cup, visit

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UGA's Fall Challenge Allows Kids to Explore Creativity on Nov. 15

Dozens of young local school students will have the opportunity to explore and develop their creative potential in this fall’s final Challenge Explosion program hosted by the University of Georgia’s Torrance Center for Creativity and Talent Development on Saturday, Nov. 15.

The one-day program will provide about 90 children from Athens area elementary schools the opportunity to learn about interdisciplinary science, music and art through a variety of specialized courses taught by local teachers and UGA graduate students.

The courses for this program include “Creative Dynamics,” “Good Bugs! Scary Bugs! Tasty Bugs!,” “Exploring Ancient Egypt,” “Kids-N-Clay Holiday Gift Making,” “Simple Machines with Legos,” “‘Mazing Mice” and “The Kite Makers.”

Tuition for each Challenge Explosion course is $30, with discounts available for families registering more than one child. The courses are scheduled from 9 a.m. to noon, with registration beginning at 8:45 a.m. at the UGA College of Education’s Aderhold Hall.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Park Springs Community Foundation Awards Scholarships

Park Springs, a retirement community in Stone Mountain, in conjunction with Isakson and Barnhart, the developer and owners of the community, established a tax-exempt foundation for the purpose of awarding scholarships for higher education of its employees and eventually its residents. Six deserving employees have been awarded the first scholarships, and have begun their educational pursuits.

The recipients are as varied as their career goals. Magdala Ajax and Mellon O. Turner are both attending Georgia Perimeter College in the field of nursing. Dorian Campbell is going to Luther Rice University for a degree in counseling; Simone K. Gibson is also attending Georgia Perimeter College, but will pursue a degree in law enforcement. Abdinasir Ismail is going to DeKalb Technical College for a certification in HVAC maintenance, and Dwayne Smith is attending Georgia State University in pursuit of a degree in accounting.

“We feel that it was vital for us to set up this foundation. We have a large number of dedicated people that work here at Park Springs that simply lack the means to continue their education,” said Dr. Julia Gary, retired Dean of Agnes Scott College, member of Park Springs and volunteer chair of the scholarship program. “We are very impressed with the excellent staff we have, and we hope that this will help these highly motivated individuals in their pursuit of higher education. We are proud to offer this as a benefit of employment at Park Springs in order to attract and retain such good people.”

In order to be eligible for consideration for these scholarships these applicants had to be established employees at Park Springs, file an application for the award, complete a standard financial aid form, be admitted to a college or technical school, have the recommendation of their supervisor and go before a selection committee for an interview.

A number of the first scholarship recipients hope to qualify for better career opportunities at Park Springs. While some of them may move on to different careers elsewhere, the residents and owners of Park Springs are extremely pleased and proud to play an integral role in the life improvement plans for enterprising employees that work to make life more enjoyable at this retirement community.

The Southeast's premier CCRC, Park Springs enhances life for active seniors by providing independent residences alongside extensive amenities and on-site wellness and private health care facilities. The 398-home campus-style community is situated on 54 acres surrounded by Stone Mountain Park. A 64-suite health center provides assisted living, skilled nursing and dementia/Alzheimer's care. The campus style community boasts a 50,000 square foot clubhouse serving meals in four themed dining rooms daily and a 12,000 square foot fitness center with an indoor swimming pool. The Seniors Housing Council of the National Association of Home Builders named Park Springs a Platinum winner. Park Springs is developed by Isakson-Barnhart. For more information on Park Springs, call 770-879-5006, 800-267-7126 or visit

Isakson Barnhart is Georgia’s developer of award-winning residential communities for those ages 62 and better. Partner E. Andrew (Andy) Isakson first founded the company in 1982 and partnered with David Barnhart in 1987. The company has established itself as one of the most respected in Atlanta’s competitive commercial real estate market. The company’s vision to provide amenity-rich, independent living for discerning adults was born out of the personal experiences of the family of Ed and Julia Isakson after their difficult search for a community that would provide their parents with an active lifestyle combined with on-site health care.

This mission manifested itself in Park Springs™, the company’s flagship property in Stone Mountain, Ga. Park Springs™ is nationally recognized by the 50+ Housing Council of the National Association of Home Builders as the recipient of the 2005 Platinum Award in the CCRC Overall Community category for large CCRCs (200 or more units), as well as the Gold Award for Interior Design. In 2006, the same group awarded Peachtree Hills Place the Silver Award for CCRC On the Boards – Large, rating the Buckhead community above all other entrants.
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SEEDS Students Publish in ESA Bulletin

Charlee Glenn (Rex), a recent Clayton State graduate, and Serge Farinas (Stockbridge), both members of the Clayton State University SEEDS (Strategies for Ecology, Education, Development, and Sustainability) chapter, were contributing authors on, “Voices of Hope in a Rapidly Changing World,” an article published in the peer-reviewed Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America (ESA).

"The Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America, issued quarterly, contains announcements of meetings of the Society and related organizations, programs, awards, articles, and items of current interest to members,” says Dr. Jere Boudell, assistant professor of Biology at Clayton State. “The bulletin is read by many of the members. I'm proud that our SEEDS chapter members accepted this challenge to write this article.”

“The publication compiled all of the ideas that were generated and presented at the 2008 ESA Milwaukee conference and the conclusions that were drawn from the other breakout groups,” says Glenn. “I submitted all that my awesome group came up with, with the rest of the information on SEEDS Alumni, Anthropogenic Biomes and Education and Outreach.”

SEEDS, “promote ecological awareness and the importance of ecological science to biology students, prospective biology students, faculty and individuals everywhere.” The group seek to expand and diversify the biological and ecological fields by raising awareness of careers in ecology and of the opportunities that are available to underrepresented students.”
Glenn and Farinas admit that completing the publication posed some challenges.

“My main challenge then and now is projecting my passion through an application. Not always will your GPA and GRE scores be a good indication of your passion and determination,” says Glenn. “Ecology, since I became aware of it, was what I want to do in life and it’s hard to sell yourself on paper to get accepted for opportunities such as the ESA Field trip and internships.

“It’s even harder now that I am in the process of applying for graduate school. I know what I want to do; now it’s a matter of someone taking a chance on me and allowing me the opportunity to show what I can bring to the field.”

“The challenges, of course, had mostly to do with time. Being a full-time student and having to work leave you with little time to work with,” Farinas explains. “We worked on different versions over the span of a few months and sent them back and forth with revisions. In the end, I think it turned out to be a strong publication.”

Despite of some of the challenges both found the experience to be extremely rewarding.

“I count myself blessed that Melissa Armstrong, diversity program manager at the Ecological Society of America, and Teresa Mourad, director of education and diversity programs at the Ecological Society of America, took such a chance and allowed me to display just how passionate I am about what I do,” says Glenn.

“The rewards were in creating a great piece and having publication experience, which will help me in graduate school,” says Farinas.”Having that under my belt, along with some other projects that will result in publications, has already helped me find potential scientists to work with.”
For more information on The Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America go to

A unit of the University System of Georgia, Clayton State University is an outstanding comprehensive metropolitan university located 15 miles southeast of downtown Atlanta.
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Clayton State School of Graduate Studies Holding Open House November 11

The Clayton State University School of Graduate Studies will be holding its next monthly informational Open House on Tuesday, Nov. 11 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in room 201 of the University’s Harry S. Downs Center.

The Open House will give prospective graduate students a chance to learn more about the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies, Master of Business Administration, Master of Health Administration, and Master of Science in Nursing. The Clayton State School of Graduate Studies regularly holds open houses on the second Tuesday evening of each month.

The University is now accepting applications for all four of its graduate programs. Go to or call the School of Graduate Studies at (678) 466-4113. For directions to campus, go to

A unit of the University System of Georgia, Clayton State University is an outstanding comprehensive metropolitan university located 15 miles southeast of downtown Atlanta.
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Georgia Tech Promise Gives Georgians Access to a Debt-Free Degree

This year, 199 students from 52 counties across Georgia—from Appling to Wilkes—are attending the Georgia Institute Technology thanks to the G. Wayne Clough Georgia Tech Promise Scholarship Program. Launched in 2007, Tech Promise is designed to help Georgia students whose families have an annual income of less than $33,300 (150 percent of the federal poverty level) earn their college degree debt-free.

Tech Promise is the first program of its kind offered by any public university in Georgia. Picking up where Georgia’s HOPE scholarship and other financial aid options leave off, the program is individually tailored for each applicant. Assistance includes scholarships, grants, and job opportunities that allow eligible in-state students to attend Georgia Tech without the burden of student loan debt.

“As Georgia high school students evaluate college options, we do not want financial need to stand in their way of pursuing a degree at Georgia Tech,” said Interim President Gary Schuster. “We believe that qualified Georgia students from all economic backgrounds should have the opportunity to attend and graduate from Tech regardless of their family’s financial status. It is especially important that Tech Promise be brought to the attention of Georgia students who may be reluctant to apply because of concern about the financial burden attending college would place on their families.”

Mary Vaughn, a senior in Science, Technology and Culture from Snellville, Georgia, values the opportunities that the Tech Promise program has allowed her to pursue.

“I attended Tech my first two years without Tech Promise,” says Vaughn. “Although I had the HOPE scholarship, I had to work two jobs to make ends meet. Tech Promise has allowed me to work only one job, focus on my education and begin saving money for graduate school.”

Vaughn plans to pursue a graduate degree in education after she graduates from Georgia Tech. “My dream job is teaching,” says Vaughn. “There have been so many teachers who have been such an inspiration to me and who have been responsible for who I have become. I just want to give back.”

Under the terms of the Tech Promise program, student eligibility requirements and criteria include:

* Legal resident of Georgia
* Pursuing a first undergraduate degree
* Eligible applicant for federal student financial aid
* Dependent students whose parents: earn less than $33,300 in total annual income and/or benefits; and are eligible to file an IRS Form 1040A or 1040EZ for the most recent tax year
* Achieve and maintain a minimum 2.0 cumulative grade point average (out of a possible 4.0); be in good standing with the Institute and maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress standards
* Submit a complete financial aid application each academic year by the required deadline

An annual application is required for Tech Promise, and individual evaluations will be conducted to calculate each candidate’s specific financial needs. Students may reapply for up to four academic years (eight semesters) of full-time enrollment. Levels of support/award in subsequent years will be based on the student’s family’s financial situation, and academic standing. The funding made available through Tech Promise will cover the published cost of attendance at Georgia Tech.

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Georgia Southern University Sets Record Marks for Enrollment, Retention, Average SAT Score

Georgia Southern University released its enrollment figures for the Fall 2008 semester Tuesday showing record growth in enrollment, student retention, and an all-time high average SAT score by incoming freshmen.

Enrollment at Georgia Southern for fall semester 2008 is 17,748 students. That is the largest enrollment in the university’s history and is up 28 percent from 10 years ago. Not only are more students enrolling at Georgia Southern, they are also staying at Georgia Southern. The University’s student retention rate reached a record 81 percent, up nearly 15 percent since 1999. Georgia Southern is also attracting higher quality students. This semester’s freshman class has an average SAT score of 1111, higher than any class in the University’s history. The average SAT score is also significantly higher than state and national averages.

“These achievements are the result of a decade of hard work and dedication to our students and our university’s future,” said Bruce Grube, president of Georgia Southern University.

Linda Bleicken, Provost and vice president for Academic Affairs says Georgia Southern’s growth and achievement has an economic impact that reaches far beyond the university as students graduate and put their degrees to work. “If a student comes here and they are successful it’s important in the life of the student. But, it is also important for the progress of our region and our state,” she said.

“Parents are recognizing the value of not only the education, but the experience that their children receive at Georgia Southern,” says Teresa Thompson, vice president of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management. “We pride ourselves on combining all of the benefits a major university with the feeling of a much smaller college. Students like this because they can stand out and get involved and parents love it because they know their son or daughter is receiving personal attention.”

Grube says while much has been accomplished in the last ten years, the University community is committed to growing its programs and opportunities for students. “This is a wonderful time to be a part of Georgia Southern University and we are excited about our future.”

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Chattahoochee Students Raise Scores After One Year With SRA/McGraw-Hill's Imagine It! Reading and Language Arts Curriculum

PRNewswire/ -- Reading scores are on the rise at the Chattahoochee County Education Center after only one year with SRA/McGraw-Hill's researched-based elementary reading and language arts program Imagine It! On average, scores increased by nearly 12%.

Teachers implemented Imagine It! in Grades K-5 in the fall of 2007. One year later, reading scores on the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test (CRCT) rose across the board. Grade 1 increased the percentage of students meeting or exceeding reading standards on the CRCT from 78% in 2007 to 91% in 2008. Grade 2 rose from 84% to 90%, and Grade 3 jumped from 71% to 82%. The best results occurred in Grade 4, where scores rose by more than 28%.

Principal Tabitha Walton said Imagine It! works because Chattahoochee educators implement it with fidelity.

"Our teachers focus on accountability, and not just at state testing time," she explained. "They know they are accountable for their students' progress every day. For example, they routinely turn in their benchmark scores so we can focus on what needs to improve or change. I'm also in and out of their classrooms daily so I can provide feedback."

Walton said one of the program's key strengths is its comprehensive nature, which means all components work together and complement each other.

"All the materials are right there in front of you, like Differentiated Instruction," she said. "If teachers want to customize a lesson, they don't have to dig for information and conduct research on their own. The components are right there for them."

One way Chattahoochee teachers provide Differentiated Instruction is through the program's workshops. Walton said workshops are advantageous because they give teachers an opportunity to do two very important things.

"First, they can pre-teach concepts they know students might struggle with. When they introduce the concept again the next day, students are already beginning to understand it. Second, teachers use workshops to target struggling students. Many kids need that extra one-on-one time with the teacher to practice concepts," Walton said. "Differentiated Instruction is very powerful in a workshop. In fact, workshops work so well with our children that we're carrying the concept over into our math program."

Walton said another of the program's key strengths is consistency from grade level to grade level.

"We're really looking forward to students' reading scores in 2009 because they will reflect two solid years with the program," she said. "Overall, we're very pleased with Imagine It! This program will work if you carefully and diligently 'work' it."

About Chattahoochee County Education Center

This Title I school serves nearly 300 students in Grades Pre-K-5: 58% of students are Caucasian, 34% African American, 1% Hispanic, 1% Asian, and 6% multicultural. Seventy-five percent of students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. For more information, please visit (

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

MCG Nursing School to Host Fall Information Session

Individuals interested in advanced nursing education at the Medical College of Georgia can learn more about the graduate programs at the School of Nursing's annual Fall Information Session, Oct. 25.

The free session, held from 8:30-11 a.m. in room 1222 of the Health Sciences Building, 987 St. Sebastian Way, will feature presentations from graduate program directors representing each of the eight programs.

"We are very excited about the opportunities for nurses and non-nurses to continue their education and help maximize the contributions they can make to improve health care delivery through practice, education and research," says Dr. Janie Heath, associate dean of academic affairs.

Breakfast will be served. For more information, or to R.S.V.P., contact Nashona Thompson, office specialist, at 706-721-3237 or

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Recommendations Received for Georgia State Presidency

Board of Regents Chair Richard Tucker and University System of Georgia Chancellor Erroll B. Davis Jr., have announced the names of two finalists for the Georgia State University (GSU) presidency.

The recommended individuals, in alphabetical order, are:

Dr. Mark P. Becker, executive vice president for Academic Affairs and provost, the University of South Carolina, Columbia, since 2004. Prior to his current appointment, from 2001 to 2004, Becker worked for the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, as a professor of biostatistics, an assistant vice president for public health preparedness and emergency response and as dean of the School of Public Health. He held a number of academic and administrative positions at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, from 1989 to 2000. Becker also has held academic posts at the University of Washington, Seattle (1987-1989), the University of Florida, Gainesville (1985-1989), and Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. (1995-1996). During his career, Becker has been involved in a number of professional associations related to his expertise, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Statistical Association, where he is a Fellow, and the International Biometric Society. He has served on a number of editorial boards of publications dealing with statistics and sociology and is a published author in these fields, as well as a consultant for business and professional associations. His research has been supported in part by grants from a variety of sources, and he was the principal investigator on research grants from the National Institutes of Health and from the National Science Foundation.

Becker earned his Ph.D. in statistics from The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pa. and a bachelor of science in mathematics (Magna Cum Laude) from Towson State University, Towson, Md.

Dr. Brooks A. Keel, Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development and Professor of Biological Sciences, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, since 2006. Prior to his current appointments, Keel was a professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Associate Vice President for Research at Florida State University, Tallahassee, from 2002-2006. His professional career began in 1985 at the University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita, where he served in a variety of positions including the Daniel K. Roberts Distinguished Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology (1995-2001), President of the Women’s Research Institute (1993-2001), and Director of Reproductive Medicine Laboratories (1985-2002). He is a member of the Society for the Study of Reproduction, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the Society for Gynecologic Investigation, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, among others. Keel has served on numerous boards related to his discipline, including the American Board of Bioanalysis, and has been honored for his work by these and other organizations.

Keel earned a Ph.D. in reproductive endocrinology from the Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, and a Bachelor of Science in biology and chemistry from Augusta College (now Augusta State University), Augusta, Ga. He has done postdoctoral work at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston and the University of South Dakota School of Medicine, Vermillion.
The Board of Regents expects to name the next president of Georgia State University at a future meeting.

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Dean selected for MCG/UGA Medical Partnership Campus in Athens

Dr. Barbara L. Schuster, an internist and seasoned medical educator who chaired the Department of Internal Medicine at Wright State University's Boonshoft School of Medicine in Ohio for a dozen years, has been named campus dean of the Medical College of Georgia/University of Georgia Medical Partnership Campus in Athens.

“We are happy to have Dr. Schuster, a proven and passionate educator, physician and administrator, lead this innovative campus that will leverage the significant strengths of Georgia's health sciences university and the state's flagship institution of higher education,” said Dr. Daniel W. Rahn, MCG president and senior vice chancellor for health and medical programs for the University System of Georgia. “Expansion of physician education is critical to the health of our citizens and to the future of our rapidly growing state. The new, four-year medical partnership campus in Athens will contribute significantly to this initiative.”

“Dr. Schuster is exactly the right person to lead this critical initiative to help address the shortage of physicians in Georgia,” said University of Georgia President Michael F. Adams. “Her background and experience have prepared her for the challenge and opportunity of building the MCG/UGA Medical Partnership from the ground up. I am pleased that our partnership with the Medical College of Georgia has taken this important step.”

Dr. Schuster, who just completed a year as a Robert G. Petersdorf Scholar-in-Residence at the Association of American Medical Colleges, assumes her duties Nov. 1, according to School of Medicine Dean D. Douglas Miller. The Athens campus plans to enroll its first students in fall 2010 as part of the School of Medicine's plan to increase its class size 60 percent to a total enrollment of 1,200 by 2020 and help meet Georgia's need for physicians.

Dr. Schuster's selection follows a national search that began in the spring. Recruiting is under way for 14 additional positions for the Athens campus, including chairs of basic and clinical sciences and an initial cohort of faculty, Dr. Miller said.

“Dr. Schuster is recognized nationally as a strong advocate of undergraduate and graduate medical education,” commented Dr. Miller. “She will be the glue that brings the two institutions together to maximize educational opportunities and outcomes for our students and Georgia's future physicians. Her success in working with residents and medical students in a consortium model of hospitals in Dayton will help her build relationships with hospitals and physicians in the Athens-Gainesville communities which are essential to the success of this new campus.”

“I am very excited and pleased that Dr. Barbara Schuster has accepted our offer to become the first campus dean of the MCG/UGA Medical Partnership,” said UGA Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Arnett C. Mace, Jr.“She possesses the expertise, experience and managerial and personal attributes to provide the leadership essential to address the education of physicians to meet Georgia’s increasing shortage of doctors. I look forward to working with her, the Medical College of Georgia and the local medical community in advancing this partnership.”

“I think this is a great opportunity and good for the state of Georgia,” Dr. Schuster said. “No partnership exists like this. It’s a wonderful way to think about expansion for other states.”

Dr. Schuster has served as professor and chair of at Wright State University since 1995, stepping down as chair in 2007 to pursue the AAMC sabbatical. Previously she served for 15 years on the faculty at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry in New York, where she also completed medical school and an internal medicine residency. She completed a Public Health Service Primary Care Policy Fellowship in Bethesda, Md., in 1994.

She has served as medical director of the University Health Service at the University of Rochester, medical director of the University Medicine-Pediatrics Practice at Wright State University and president of Wright State's faculty practice plan. At both institutions, she worked with graduate medical education programs where residents learned at multiple hospitals. The University of Rochester's internal medicine/pediatric training program she directed has named an award in her honor. She received the 2003 Excellence in Medical Education Award from Wright State and the Teaching Excellence Award from Wright State's class of 2005.

Dr. Schuster chaired the AAMC's Council of Academic Societies from 2003-04, served on the association's Executive Committee from 2002-04 and received the AAMC's 2007 Distinguished Service Award. She participated in the AAMC Roundtable: Educating Doctors for Chronic Disease Care, from 2004-06. She served on the Board of Regents of the American College of Physicians for six years and chaired its Education Committee for four years. She is immediate past president of the Association of Professors of Medicine and a former member of the Board of Directors of the Alliance for Academic Internal Medicine. She has been a member of the Association of Program Directors in Internal Medicine since 1982, including terms as president and chair of the Publications Committee. She received the association's 2004 Dema Daley Founder's Award.

Founded in 1828, MCG is the state’s health sciences university and includes the Schools of Allied Health Sciences, Dentistry, Graduate Studies, Medicine and Nursing. Founded in 1785, the University of Georgia is America’s first chartered state university and Georgia’s largest and most comprehensive educational institution including the colleges of public health, veterinary medicine, pharmacy and basic sciences in arts and sciences.

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Sallie Mae Offers Tips, Tools for Successful Student Loan Repayment

(BUSINESS WIRE)--Another important milestone is approaching for last spring’s college graduates – at least those who took out student loans. As the end of the six-month, post-school student loan grace period approaches, Sallie Mae offers tips and tools to help newly minted alumni begin student loan repayment and build a healthy credit history.

“I was able to pay down part of the principal balance of my loans every month, and at one point, I even increased my monthly payment,” said Sallie Mae customer, Coelise Martin Taleb, now a registered nurse. “I also want to buy a house one day and realize that good credit is the way to accomplish this goal.”

In addition to a standard repayment plan that allows federal student loan customers to make level payments of principal and interest over a 10-year repayment term, Sallie Mae offers graduated repayment, extended repayment and income-sensitive repayment options to allow consumers to customize their federal student loan payments to suit their financial situation. To help make repayment even simpler, Sallie Mae gives customers the convenience of one bill for all of their Sallie Mae-serviced loans, including their private loans, so they can make a single monthly payment.

Sallie Mae offers these 5 tips to help customers get off on the right path for student loan repayment:

Automatic debit: Set up monthly loan payments with automatic debit as an easy way to make on-time payments. Your monthly student loan payments are electronically deducted from your checking or savings account, saving you time and stamps.

Run the numbers: Sallie Mae's Loan Repayment Calculator estimates the monthly payments and total interest costs under the different repayment plans available. Before selecting a repayment plan, run the numbers and see which repayment plan gives you a monthly payment that fits into your budget.

Link your loan to Upromise: Join Upromise, then link your Sallie Mae loan account to your Upromise account and use your Upromise rewards to transfer savings automatically to help pay down your eligible Sallie Mae student loans. Upromise helps students and families save money for education expenses by earning rewards on everyday purchases from participating companies. Visit to learn more.

Stay in touch: Immediately notify your student loan servicer(s) of any change to your name, address, telephone number, employer, or Social Security number. This will ensure that you receive all communication from your loan provider and that you are aware of your payment amount, payment due date and repayment options.

Prepay or pay extra when possible: You may prepay your loans in part or in full at any time without penalty. This will lower the overall cost of the loan. Adding a little extra to each monthly payment can help.

“I was so proud of the fact that I had paid off my student loan, I placed a copy of the ‘Congratulations’ letter from Sallie Mae on the wall of my cubicle,” said Angelique Tellis from Lafayette, La., a Sallie Mae customer who recently paid off her student loan. “For me, the key to paying off my loan faster was to add a little extra to the payment each month.”

A recent study by Sallie Mae and Gallup on “How America Pays for College” found that the median monthly payment that students with loans expected to pay once they began repayment was $200. Respondents, however, offered a wide variance of estimates, especially for similar loan values.

Sallie Mae’s new Education Investment Planner can help students and families more accurately forecast their monthly student loan payments. The free tool, available online at, enables families to estimate the total cost of a college degree, build a customized plan to pay for college, forecast monthly student loan payments, and even estimate the salary a graduate would need to keep repayment of student loans manageable.

In addition, the Education Investment Planner educates users on debt-to-income ratios and offers debt management guidance as part of Sallie Mae’s commitment to helping families understand the total cost of college and how to pay for it without going beyond their means. A general rule of thumb is that total monthly debt payments (including payments for student loans, credit cards, car, and housing, whether renting or buying) should be no more than 36% to 40% of one’s monthly gross income.

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Allagnon to Preside Over Georgia State French Organization

Foreign language chair at Sandy Creek High, Stephane Allagnon, has been elected president of the American Association of Teachers of French (AATF), Georgia Chapter.

“This is certainly a honor for him and for Fayette County. I know he will represent French teachers well in Georgia,” says Cathy Geis, foreign language and social studies coordinator for Fayette County Schools.

As president, Allagnon will preside over meetings of the chapter as well as appoint the director of the AATF National French Contest, members of all special committees and the delegates to the national convention of the AATF. He will also be responsible for processing and ranking applications for the AATF summer scholarship as well as appointing directors to administer various state-level contests.

Allagnon replaces Dr. Kristin Hoyt of Kennesaw State University. His term will be for two years.

The mission of the American Association of Teachers of French, Georgia Chapter is to assist the national chapter in representing the French language in North America and encourage the dissemination of knowledge concerning all aspects of the culture and civilization of France and the French-speaking world to both schools and the general public.

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UGA has Largest Student Body in History with Fall Enrollment of 34,180

Spurred by growth at two of its extended campuses, the University of Georgia has its largest student body in history this fall with an enrollment of 34,180—the first time ever that enrollment has topped 34,000.

The fall semester enrollment is 349 students (one percent) above last fall and 221 more than the previous record of 33,959 set in 2006.

The total includes 33,078 students on UGA’s main campus in Athens, up one percent from last year, and 938 students at the university’s extended campuses in Gwinnett County, Tifton, Griffin and Buckhead in Atlanta—a 6.2 percent increase from last fall. An additional 164 students are enrolled in independent study.

On the main campus in Athens, undergraduate enrollment totals 25,201, up by 207 over last year, and graduate enrollment increased by 110 students to a total of 6,324. Enrollment in the professional schools of law, pharmacy and veterinary medicine increased by four students to a total of 1,553.

The biggest increases at the extended campuses are at Buckhead, where 271 students are enrolled, and Griffin, where 106 students are enrolled. The Buckhead campus is mainly for working professionals and enrolls only students studying for master’s degrees in business administration. This is the first enrollment report in which Buckhead students are counted separately; in previous reports, they were counted as enrolled either in Athens or at the Gwinnett campus.

The Griffin campus has 60 undergraduates, compared to 40 last year, and 46 graduate students compared to 17 last year. The Tifton campus has a total of 48 undergraduate and graduate students, exactly the same as last year.

The Gwinnett campus has 513 students of whom 510 are enrolled in graduate courses. UGA offers only graduate courses at Gwinnett after phasing out undergraduate courses when Georgia Gwinnett College opened. Eliminating undergraduate programs was the primary factor in a 34 percent drop in total enrollment at the campus. Three undergraduates still are coded for enrollment purposes as enrolled at Gwinnett but are attending classes in Athens.

Robert Boehmer, associate provost for institutional effectiveness, said the extended campuses are a crucial factor in UGA’s efforts to promote economic growth in Georgia.

“In response to the state’s growing needs for workforce development and access to higher education, UGA has dramatically expanded its degree programs in Buckhead, Griffin, Gwinnett and Tifton,” Boehmer said.

“This effort will continue as UGA seeks to identify and implement additional degree programs uniquely suited to the needs of these key locations. UGA’s strong commitment to serving the needs of the entire state is well demonstrated by these efforts.”

Of the total 34,180 enrollment, 7,928 students had never attended UGA before including 4,376 first-time freshmen who enrolled this fall. Combined with 377 first-time freshmen who enrolled this summer, the total count of first-time freshmen for summer and fall is 4,753, an increase of 149 from last year.

Of the first-time freshmen who enrolled this fall, 295 had earned enough academic credit through joint-enrollment or advanced placement programs to be classified as sophomores, and 16 had enough credit to be classified as juniors.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Fayette County Teachers Participate in Weightless Flight

Tammy Pakulski during weightless flight onboard G-Force One.

Two of Fayette County's teachers became zeronauts for a day and both thought their experience was, pardon the pun, out of this world.

Carol Taylor, a math teacher at Rising Starr Middle, and Tammy Pakulski, a science teacher at JC Booth Middle, took part in the Northrop Grumman Foundation Weightless Flights of Discovery Program on October 7. The teachers were participants in a zero gravity flight that is comparable to what astronauts experience in space.

“The experience was out of this world; it was fabulous,” says Taylor upon her arrival back to earth. “It was a fun and rewarding experience with applications connecting to classroom concepts. My accelerated students studied the vertical motion model while I was gone and I was able to discuss how the flight was a perfect example of what they learned.”

Here’s how the weightless flight works. The airplane, a 727 called G-Force One, climbs at a 50-degree angle, topping off at 31,500 feet and then goes into freefall creating a weightless environment inside the plane for 25-30 seconds. The maneuver is completed a total of 15 times giving participants about 6-7 minutes of weightless flight.

“The flight was much smoother than I had expected. Going weightless was actually a very peaceful experience,” says Pakulski. “The 1.8 Gs we experienced on the climb was not as bad as I thought it would be. You pull more Gs on the Mindbender at Six Flags.”

Both teachers have reached celebrity status at their schools, appearing on the closed circuit TV announcements and getting bombarded by students.

“When I returned to school I was mobbed by students, many I didn’t even know. They all wanted to know about the experience, “ says Pakulski.

Taylor was a special guest during her school’s morning announcements.

“I was dressed in my flight suit with my certificate in hand along with our school agenda and panther mascot that went along for the ride with me. The students have been extremely responsive school wide,” she says.

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UWG Debate Team Continues Success Streak

The University of West Georgia Debate Team earned a 17-1 record after competing in two tournaments at the Las Vegas Round Robin Invitational at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.

In the first tournament, the UWG Debate Team and Florida residents Vince Binder of Gainesville and Jim Schultz of Jupiter earned a perfect record of 10-0 while competing against several nationally ranked universities including Emory University, Kansas State University, University of Texas and University of Wyoming. In the second tournament, the Schultz and Binder Debate team earned a 10-1 record.

In a round robin format, each team debates every other team participating in the competition. Schultz and Binder debated and won over every team. The team was also recognized for their speaking skills with Schultz established as the top individual speaker in both events. Binder ranked in the top ten as a sixth place speaker.

The UWG Debate Team has seen great success in previous years. Under the direction of Dr. Michael Hester, assistant dean of the Honors College and Debate coach, the team has participated in numerous debate competitions and has qualified for a National Debate Tournament 36 consecutive years.

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Fall Enrollment Sets Record

Atlanta Christian College this fall saw its largest enrollment in the history of the College, with 456 students enrolled in traditional and adult degree programs. The record enrollment marks a more than 15 percent increase from one year ago.

“We’re honored that students are increasingly turning to Atlanta Christian College for a quality Christian higher education,” said Dean Collins, a 1979 graduate and the College’s interim president. “We expect this enrollment trend to continue in the future, and know that our plans to relocate our main campus will help us accommodate further growth.”

Contributing to the increase in enrollment was the College’s new Access program for adult and professional studies. Students in this program may earn an associate or bachelor’s degree in as little as 18-24 months. Currently, the program offers adult students the opportunity to study Christian ministries, organizational leadership or counseling and human services; in February 2009, the program will expand to include an early childhood education degree.

“When we developed our Access program, we believed there was a need in Atlanta for a quality faith-based adult education program, and we have been thrilled with the initial response,” said Collins. “The number of applications for this program far exceeds our expectations, and validates our assumptions about the need for this program in our market.”

For more information on Atlanta Christian College and its traditional and adult programs, visit
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